Leading into San Diego Comic-Con last month, Marvel Comics made major headlines in announcing significant changes for some of its leading Avengers characters. Thor would be a new female character and Falcon would become the next Captain America. Suddenly, a black character and a female character were now part of the core heroes in the Marvel universe, helping make it more diverse, and both are part of a new Avengers team roster launching in the comics this fall. That roster, which also includes some lesser known characters who will likely be getting an introduction in the movies in the near future, may be indicative of the Marvel Cinematic Universe a few years down the road.
With Falcon serving as the next Captain America in Marvel Comics, this gives a few creative directions for Marvel Studios to take. In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, a film that broke box office records for the month of April earlier this year, we met two characters who can takeover and help lead The Avengers when Steve Rogers eventually cannot.
Firstly, there's The Winter Soldier himself, played by Sebastian Stan, who suits up as Captain America when Steve Rogers is "assassinated" - a wildly successful and critically acclaimed run of comics written by Ed Brubaker for which screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely - who helped write Captain America 1 & 2, Thor: The Dark World - are drawing much of their inspiration and ideas from. Then, there's the more recent change-up of Falcon taking over, utilizing both his wings and Cap's shield. When chatting with SFX, McFeely and Markus were asked about whether or not the upcoming movies will embrace some of these recent changes in the books.
Stephen McFeely: We tend to stay on the sidelines when it comes to the comics. We wait and see what we’ll steal from in three or four years from now! [laughs].
Christopher Markus: I think the movies can accommodate almost anything, if there’s a need. I think there is a much greater need to shake things up in the comics because that’s a narrative that’s been going on for 60 or 70 years, so you’re going to wind up having to do things to it. Ours has only been off the ground for five or so. So it’s not quite time to start changing things up yet. Plus I can’t figure out how he’s going to have the wings and the shield at the same time. Isn’t it going to get all crammed up on the wing? I don’t know… When those things happen in the comics you also have a tendency, perhaps cynically, to go “Yeah, but he’s going to be Steve Rogers in two months…” He’s going to wake up out of cryo-stasis or whatever it is and it’s going to be like “Oh, I need the shield back”. [laughs].
McFeely's comment about waiting for three-four years and Markus' about "if there's a need" are very appropriate since much of their creative freedom in regards to future Captain America stories will depend on talent contracts with Marvel Studios. They could be directly referring to The Avengers 3 which is - at the moment - is the last movie for Chris Evans who plays Steve Rogers. If Evans does leave after that, another character will have to suit up as the star-spangled Avenger. Given that Sebastian Stan has a 9-picture deal, it'll probably be him first much like it was in the comics and later, Falcon could theoretically step up as Cap as well, assuming Anthony Mackie has a similarly lengthy contract. Both characters are in the Avengers NOW! team coming later this year.
As for other characters we might see, who almost made it into Cap 2:
Christopher Markus: I don’t know if there’s anybody that we had in the wings that we couldn’t pull off. There are people that I’m always wanting to bring in. I want to put Modok into something, but you can’t just drop a giant floating head in! It’s not like “Oh, we have to go talk to this guy – there’s something I should tell you about him first…” [laughs]. Suddenly the whole movie needs to take on that structure in order to accommodate him. I never win that fight!
Markus isn't joking. This is what he said years ago about wanting to use MODOK as a villain in Cap 2. And here's what I said back then:
In all seriousness, MODOK could absolutely work as a great villain – they’d just have to change up his design. In Marvel Comics history, MODOK began not as a killer but as one of many scientists working at the terrorist group known as A.I.M. (Advanced Idea Mechanics). He was selected by his boss to undergo experiments to turn him into an organic super computer in order to study and unlock the mysteries of the Cosmic Cube. See how it can tie into the movies so far?
The experiments enlarge his head and transform him into the weird being we now know him as, with psionic powers and genius intellect. He was given the code-named MODOC (Mobile Organism Designed Only for Computing) but quickly turned on his masters, killing them all, and changing his name to fit the part.
S.H.I.E.L.D. didn’t know much about this organization so they sent in Agent Sharon Carter who gets captured. Insert Captain America rescue mission which goes wrong, a little uprising in a submarine base, and a happy ending and you got yourself another Captain America movie. There’s a lot to draw from in the books so I hope more folks at Marvel give a little credence to Markus’ ideas on this one.
And since then of course, we've met AIM in Iron Man 3 and Sharon Carter in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. If we can get Rocket Raccoon, we can get MODOK, right?
Markus continues, explaining that Clint Barton aka Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) was in some drafts of the Captain America 2 script but it was such a minor role that they cut it rather than turning him into another cameo. Hawkeye of course, returns in a big way next year in Joss Whedon's The Avengers: Age of Ultron where we'll learn what he's been up to since the first team-up. Could he show up in Cap 3?
Who would you like to see show up in Captain America 3 and who should the villain(s) be?
Captain America: The Winter Soldier is produced by Kevin Feige, directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, from a screenplay by Christopher Markus & Stephen McFeely, and stars Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders, Frank Grillo, Emily VanCamp and Hayley Atwell, with Robert Redford as Alexander Pierce and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier releases on Disney Movies Anywhere August 19, 2014, and on 3D Combo Pack, Blu-ray, DVD and On-Demand September 9, 2014. Captain America 3 opens in theaters May 6, 2016.
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